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Get More Vitamin D

Cokeitha Gaddist
Healthy Lifestyles Columnist

With summer fast approaching you will have the opportunity to get plenty of Vitamin D. Vitamin D, as well as calcium, is needed for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. Without enough of it, children may develop a bone disease that can progress into adulthood. Adults who don’t get enough are at higher risk of heart disease, obesity, depression, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Although Vitamin D it is an essential nutrient many children and most adults fall short of getting enough.
Are you getting enough vitamin D? Research suggest that vitamin D may have other benefits, such as protecting against colds and fighting depression and improves your overall health. What makes vitamin D unique is that it is a vitamin and a hormone your body can make from the sun, specifically in the months from April to September. Vitamin D mainly comes from sunlight but you can also get vitamin D from certain foods and vitamin supplements. Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, red meat, egg yolk, wild mushrooms, breakfast cereals as well as in milks and spreads although, the amount you get from food is fairly low.
Despite the ability to get vitamin D from food and the sun, an estimated 40%-75% of people are vitamin D-deficient. While the sun is many people’s best natural source for Vitamin D, excessive exposure to the harmful rays can increase the risk of cancer. Older people overtime get less vitamin D from the sun that’s why it is important to get the vitamin through other means such as food or vitamin supplement. Lack of vitamin D is not life threatening but it can cause problems later in life such as osteoporosis, depression, and fatigue.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommend babies get 400 International Units (IU’s) of vitamin D a day, adults age 1-70 get approximately 600 IU per day that includes pregnant and breastfeeding women. For people 71 and up NIH recommends 800 IU to make up for the decreased amount from sunlight. Daily exercise can also help the body in producing more vitamin D and is also a great way to improve the strength of bones and muscles.
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Health has become the first health care provider in the nation to recommend that pregnant patients who are considered vitamin D-deficient take 4,000 international units, or IU, of vitamin D every day. “It has already translated into benefits for our pregnant moms,” said Neonatologist Carol Wagner. “It’s a quantum leap in clinical practice,” she says. Wagner is also studying how vitamin D delivered to babies through breast milk affects their immune systems to learn how much vitamin D the mother needs to take to benefit the baby.
MUSC is the first academic institution to provide pregnant women with 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily, which is almost 10 times higher than the amount currently recommended by the government. “After many years of studying vitamin D in relation to improving birth outcomes, we hope this will improve pregnancy outcomes, which the state of South Carolina chronically struggles with,” said MUSC vitamin D researcher Bruce Hollis.

Cokeitha Gaddist (67 Posts)